Elector can’t get his two cents’ worth

A MOVE to force Stirling council to reveal more about how it spends money has been voted down.

At last month’s electors’ general meeting Roland Hadley from the Ewen Street Community Group moved that “any invoice over $10,000 has more than two words in the details”. 

He’s made previous attempts at public question times to get council to clarify its spending, including in 2019 when he queried why Stirling’s payments to panel beating contractor S&A Smash Repairs were consistently over-budget; recently he’s queried the council’s soaring arborist spend. 

At the EGM Mr Hadley said it was “hardly adequate” that hundreds of thousands of dollars could be spent and the only information the public gets is “two words” in a big list of payments. 

Electors supported his motion but at this week’s council meeting, staff advised councillors it’d be too much work. 

They said there’s more than 5,000 invoices per month and more information would have to be added manually and checked over to make sure there were no privacy or commercial confidentiality breaches. 

The staff advised no change. They boldly described the current two word descriptors as “narratives” 

and said they complied with financial management regulations. 

While Mr Hadley had no luck getting them to reveal more about the finances, his queries about the staggering smash repair bills has been followed by fewer prangs. 

When he asked about the spend back in 2019, the council had been shelling out about $240,000 per year over the previous five years on panel beating, well above the $185,000 annual budget. 

The city committed to reduce crashes and the panel beating spend has stayed under budget since. 

by DAVID BELL

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